Even though we’ve seen films like “Milk” and “Brokeback Mountain” succeed with audiences, studios are still wary of gay-leaning movies. Just ask Steven Soderbergh, who was told by major studios that “Behind The Candelabra” was “too gay” before he found at home for it at HBO.
And the network is backing another project that would likely make suits elsewhere uneasy. HBO has been playing something of a pre-production long-game with an adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play “The Normal Heart,” as various stars have become affixed to the project in dribs and drabs. We first reported on it in early 2012, when Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer signed up to adapt Larry Kramer‘s much-admired account of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1980s New York. Alec Baldwin was allegedly on board at one stage but has since been MIA (perhaps off-radar in some post-Jack Donaghy crisis).
The latest from Deadline is that Taylor Kitsch (Texan football’s most smoldering fullback from the luminous NBC series “Friday Night Lights”) will complete the main line-up as a closeted banker who later turns to gay-rights activism. Directed by Ryan Murphy, creator of “Glee” and “The New Normal” (not a champion of good taste but undoubtedly a pro when it comes to primetime ratings) filming is set to begin, at last, in New York later this year, with a release anticipated for 2014. It looks as though the civil rights picture is indeed becoming the new normal.